At his press conference on November 9, JoePa invoked the Bard’s words in explaining his feelings about hard times.
Through all of these tough times that you and the team have been going through, has your confidence that you can turn things around ever been shaken at all?
You would have to define what you mean by â€œshakenâ€. Obviously, I go back to Hamlet, â€œTo be or not to be, that is the question. Suffer the slings in adversity of outrageous fortunes or take arms and fight the enemy. By doing so eliminate the problem.â€ I have a lot of confidence in my staff and a lot of confidence in this football team. Things havenâ€™t gone, obviously, they way you would like them to go. Sometimes people think it is the planning, the plays and sometimes the coaches or what have you. Yes, I get shaky once in awhile. I would be less than honest if I told you I didnâ€™t. That doesnâ€™t mean that I lose faith. Even Christ said, â€œTake this away from me.â€
Obviously, in going back to Hamlet, Joe’s memory of Shakespeare is suffering from some “rust,” not unlike Michael Robinson’s passing game. Joe’s personalized paraphrasing supports his stubborn death grip on the head coaching job. However, his interpretation is at odds with Shakespearean scholars. Hamlet’s real soliloquy and its intent are probably more appropriate to our present circumstances than Joe’s bastardized version.
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
Note the punctuation. The last sentence ends with a question mark. Hamlet is asking himself whether he should end his own life and, thus, his troubles or stick around and take the heat. Perhaps suffering from clinical depression, the Prince of Denmark ponders what many suicidally depressed people ponder—is it nobler to live miserably or to end one’s sorrows with a single stroke? Oops, Joe! You might have unwittingly stumbled over a solution.
Actually, Hamlet concluded that more people would commit suicide if they weren’t so afraid of the unknown after death, to wit:
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
I’m not advocating that Joe off himself with his bare bodkin and consequently shuffle off this mortal coil. Forsooth! In terms of the Penn State football program, outrageous fortune exists no more, but the slings and arrows have become machine guns and nukes. Paterno needs to his quietus make and do what is best for him and the program. Resignation is appropriate. It is, indeed, the nobler thing, albeit not in Joe’s mind. Joe is afraid of life after football; he would rather bear those ills he has than fly to others he knows not of. Conscience does make cowards of us all, including Paterno, Spanier, and Curley.
As for what Christ said, that is an interesting association for Joe to make.